OSA Acquires Record Amount of Martin Audio Wavefront Precision

OSA International of Chicago, Nashville and Las Vegas recently purchased 248 Wavefront Precision Compact and Mini line array cabinets, and in doing so, attained the status as the world’s largest rental company of Martin Audio.

Commenting on the purchase OSA President Mario Educate said, “We’ve used these speaker cabinets on several shows already this quarter, and the sound quality out of the Wavefront Precision arrays is unbelievable. They bring out the subtleties of the score better than any other line array we’ve used, so the audience can really immerse themselves in the meeting experience through the audio.”

OSA already has a significant inventory of Martin Audio’s MLA Series, but Educate sees no conflict of interest, quite the opposite: “Our engineers are already proud of the work they’ve done with Martin Audio’s MLA series––the multi-cellular array technology has been a game changer in our industry and allowed us to deliver the most precise sound coverage time and time again. The Wavefront Precision series will allow our engineers to take advantage of the multi-cellular array technology but with scalable resolution, so we can reach a much broader client base. We’re excited to see how the new cabinets can complement our MLA inventory, especially by offering different resolution for delay systems.”

The purchase of Wavefront Precision was complemented by system iKON amplifiers, iK42 and iK81, as well as the new SXH218 high performance double 18″ subwoofers, the first purchase by a rental house anywhere in the world.

The BMI Latin Music Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA was one of the first events OSA used Wavefront Precision, including 14 WPC, 14 WPM and six SXH218 subwoofers. The audio crew included Brian Daily (A1), Bobby Vidales (A2) and Orlando Calzada (Monitor Engineer).

Commenting on the PA, Brian said, “The clarity and definition of the high end out of the box was phenomenal.” Orlando added, “The artists’ engineers really enjoyed the Wavefront Precision. They walked away wanting to use it on tour after hearing how it sounded at the BMI Latin Awards.”

WPC Hang at the 2018 BMI Latin Awards with OSA Audio Crew

OSA has received other positive reports, such as one from an engineer after doing back to back shows with WPC arrays: “Two completely different shows, same PA! Life was made easy with Martin Audio’s new WPC’s––from the rigging to the quality out of the box, I was extremely impressed.”

Comments echoed by Educate: “On a practical level, the compact size and light weight of the WPC enclosures will allow our engineers to design the PA more effortlessly getting the coverage and sound quality they need without worrying about the weight restrictions many venues hold. Combined with the fast flying systems, these cabinets are already in high demand.”

Dom Harter, Managing Director of Martin Audio, was quick to return the compliments: “The trust and investment made by Mario with the support from Jim Risgin and whole OSA team means a lot to Martin Audio. Our team is focused on using the Wavefront Precision systems to bring true patented optimization technology to the wider market. To hear these systems are immediately delivering jaw dropping shows is all the ratification we need.”

OSA Las Vegas with New WPC Inventory
OSA Las Vegas with New WPC Inventory
OSA Las Vegas with New WPC Inventory

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“OSA Acquires Record Amount of Martin Audio Wavefront Precision” by Martin Audio Ltd.

OSA Surpasses Expectations with Martin Audio MLA at Nu Skin Event

The premier anti-aging company Nu Skin has grown from its humble beginnings in Provo, UT in 1984. The company now distributes its products in 54 markets worldwide through a network of close to 1.2 million independent distributors. Every two years, the NYSE-listed company holds a four-day event with a dynamic mix of philanthropy, business sessions, recognition and entertainment.

For the past decade, Nu Skin has turned to Atlanta-based Executive Visions Inc. (EVI) and its large team of producers and creative thinkers to create an exciting and memorable event. For 2017, EVI President & CEO Michael Marto had something very special in mind. “Nu Skin is an especially rewarding company to work with,” says Marto, “as the culture of empowerment, opportunity and being a Force for Good influences everything they do. We wanted to weave an experience unlike any other that broke new ground for a customized corporate event and told the whole Nu Skin story.”

Of particular importance was addressing the difficult audience of Millennials. Marto expands, “We wanted to use a massive social program to attract young people to the company as part of a strategy for growth for Nu Skin. We didn’t have Maroon 5 and Hans Zimmer just because they are colossal global talents, but also because they speak especially clearly to a millennial audience through the international languages of music and movies.”

In keeping with their high standards, EVI contracted OSA International of Chicago, Nashville and Las Vegas to provide audio for the Nu Skin LIVE! event held at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, UT. In turn, the team opted for a comprehensive Martin Audio MLA speaker system to provide smooth, even coverage and pristine sound quality throughout a challenging 270-degree listening environment.

According to OSA’s Audio Designer and Mix Engineer Carmen Educate, “The venue posed the usual design challenges present in an arena including hard reflective surfaces and a large cavernous ceiling. We also needed to avoid blocking a complex lighting rig and a large automated LED video walls that sat behind the stage, which meant running the system with the speakers about 40 ft. above the deck, much higher than a typical concert setup. Additionally, we had to avoid spilling audio onto the stage which had a large thrust that extended into the audience.

“The sound quality had to be perfect since we not only had high level executives speaking through the PA but we were also providing audio support for various entertainment sessions including talent and awards shows, a special concert by Maroon 5, and a finale headlined by composer Hans Zimmer and his band with members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Utah Symphony. The setup had to be designed to flow from one segment to the next seamlessly.

To accomplish this given all of the challenges, OSA designed and set up a system consisting of 15 MLA and one MLD per side as the main hangs; 11 MLA and one MLD a side for near outfills; 12 MLA Compact a side for far outfills; two hangs of seven MLA a side for delays, and a sub complement that included six flown MLX subs a side with three stacks of two MLX left and right in front of the stage and under the stage thrust.

“With a large seated audience of over 15,000 separated by the runway to the stage,” Carmen adds, “we had to make sure there was even coverage front to back and side to side without reflections or slap-back.

“Martin Audio’s MLA system is outrageously efficient which made designing for that type of large-scale venue easier. It allowed us to get into a finer resolution of how we wanted the system to perform based on its reaction in the given environment, while helping us deal effectively with on-site anomalies like banners, screens and other surfaces that block audio and inhibit the sound.

“The system performed beautifully,” Carmen concludes. “All of the engineers were ecstatic about how well MLA sounded. Getting the proximity effect and punch everyone was looking for with its higher trim height really set MLA apart, and allowed us to surpass the audio standards required by the event on every level.”

Photo Gallery

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Photo credit: Suzanne Teresa for EVI

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“OSA Surpasses Expectations with Martin Audio MLA at Nu Skin Event” by Martin Audio Ltd.

Cabo Wabo Cantina Upgrades with Martin Audio WPC

Cabo San Lucas, MX––Sammy Hagar’s legendary Cabo Wabo Cantina recently underwent an audio upgrade with a Martin Audio Wavefront Precision Compact system just in time for the Red Rocker’s ‘Red ‘Till I’m Dead – Sammy Hagar’s Rock-N-Roll Birthday Bash.’

Celebrating Sammy’s 70th birthday, the annual fan pilgrimage was filmed for a movie simulcast in 100 U.S. theaters with a list of guest stars that included Toby Keith, James Hetfield, Dave Grohl, Jimmy Chesney, Eddie Money, Chad Kroger, Bob Weir, Jerry Cantrell and Alex Gonzalez of Mana.

Martin Audio’s Wavefront Precision line array introduces a scalable approach to resolution and control of coverage functioning with external, dedicated multi-channel amplifiers in a uniquely flexible, upgradeable, and financially accessible system. The more cabinets with dedicated amplifier channels, the higher the resolution and scale of coverage control achievable.

The Wavefront system for Cabo Wabo was designed and commissioned by Jim Risgin of OSA International, Inc. working in collaboration with local contractors and Martin Audio Distributor Audio Acoustica. Initially founded in 1990, Cabo Wabo needed a new PA system after 27 years, especially given the Birthday Bash was coming up in the near future.

According to Jim, who installed and tuned the system, ‘Martin Audio WPC was chosen because it was the proper form factor, right size and had a good aesthetic look for the club. They needed a substantial PA, so we flew six WPC boxes a side with four SX218 subs mounted in the front face of the stage. The monitor complement includes four Martin Audio XE500s and four XE300s.’

The XE Series monitors feature Martin Audio’s unique Coaxial Differential Dispersion technology and are designed as a complete system that maximizes the capability of the monitor while ensuring both engineer and artist will experience the same high level of consistent performance from an XE monitor anywhere in the world.

‘The system will be used 365 days a year and we fully anticipate the reliability to be great,’ Jim explains. ‘There’s a grand total of nine iKON iK42 amps installed for system control and DSP tuning is all done inside the amps. We used 2-box per channel resolution which worked out well, the coverage is spot on. All and all, the system did what we wanted it to do and more.’

Asked about reaction to the WPC system’s performance, Jim responds: ‘Everyone is really happy with it. The club manager and Sammy’s partner Jorge Viana was ecstatic about the way it sounded and how well it worked for the venue. The house sound guys were very impressed by WPC’s performance and capabilities and they’re looking forward to mixing on it every day.’

On first encountering the XE Series monitors Jim recalls, ‘Sammy walked up to the wedges, sang a phrase, looked over at Jim Jorgensen, his monitor engineer, and said, ‘I’ve never heard myself like that before.’ Then he looked at me and asked, ‘are you the guy who’s responsible for this PA?’ before thanking me and saying, ‘First time I’ve ever heard myself in here.’

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“Cabo Wabo Cantina Upgrades with Martin Audio WPC” by Martin Audio Ltd.

OSA Supports the 35th America’s Cup as Official Audio & Video Contractor

Providing audiences large-screen HD LED technology and sound clarity throughout the America’s Cup Event Village

This summer fans from around the world amassed to the Cross Island of Bermuda’s Royal Naval Dockyard, the nine-acre home to America’s Cup Village, to watch the greatest race on water and enjoy world-class entertainment from artists of the Caribbean. The America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA) turned to OSA International, Inc. to be the audio, video and staging contractor in order to add spectacular sound and visual attraction for the enjoyment of fans.

At the heart of America’s Cup Village, the Main Stage played host to entertainment and sailors throughout the Cup. OSA installed the stage, audio system and two large LED walls, left and right of the stage, for an impressive display of more than 300 Absen X5 panels.

“Our client wanted a clean look as opposed to a typical truss-heavy structure, so vertical pylons were sunk into the ground and the LED wall hung from 38′ long horizontal I-beams which were then dressed with a scenic border,” explained OSA Project Manager Deb Miller. “This made the stage look amazing.”

Keeping with the clean appearance, ACEA required that all cabling be hidden. “The load-in was scheduled for only one week, so we flew in two months prior to run cable underground,” stated Miller. Six inch diameter conduits at over 330′ in total length ran from the Main Stage to front of house, and then to the grandstands and the LED wall by the seawall.
For the village-wide audio, OSA used Dante to provide audio at both the seawall and the grandstands. “This allowed us to digitally transport audio to the amp location for sportscaster inputs and IFB outputs, and to the seawall PA for host mics and the awards stage,” explained OSA Engineer Brian Daily.

Along the seawall, there was public access to the grandstands and several hospitality viewing areas. Over 450′ in length, OSA custom-manufactured twelve poles and mounted three speaker cabinets per pole, arrayed in different directions to throw the sound long and narrow, maximizing coverage over fewer locations along this public promenade.

OSA installed three more large-screen LED displays – one Absen C7 wall at the grandstands and two Absen X5 walls, one outside of the Mouton Cadet hospitality tent and one on the deck of Club AC, the elite hospitality viewing area provided by the ACEA. The foundation below the grandstand LED wall was poured during set-up, and had to cure prior to hanging the LED wall. The deck at the Club AC ended four feet above the edge of the seawall. This LED wall was the only one mounted on truss. Mega blocks had to be lowered between joists to the sea level with hand chain hoists and attached to solid ground. Then the deck planking was cut around the vertical truss legs.

Additionally, OSA managed and supplied the audio and video village-wide, including distributing the broadcast feeds to systems installed in the viewing grandstands, at the main entrance and in several hospitality and sponsored tents throughout the Village.

The project did not come without its challenges and surprises. During an event like the America’s Cup where the race times are dependent on the wind, the ACEA had to adjust the entertainment schedule accordingly to keep fans in the Village. This kept the OSA crew on their toes constantly. At the Main Stage, FOH Mix Engineer Paul Deuschle described, “Every day was a new challenge. We would come in some mornings and not know what bands were in that day’s line-up. We just had to adapt to the schedule changes.”

Deuschle also stated there were additional challenges due to the event’s island location. “The key was to tell as many artists what we had available so they knew prior to their arrival. We filled four sea containers with A/V gear and tools, but there were many last-minute schedule changes. Back home, if a band rider included a different console, we would truck it in or sub-rent locally. Being on an island with limited local resources, that was not always an option.”

Despite these various challenges, the event was a huge success that was packed with the local flavors of Bermudian entertainment. The opening ceremonies included various acts highlighting the local culture of Bermuda including 4-Forty-1, the official band of the 35th America’s Cup, Gene Steede, the H&H Gombeys, the Gombey Evolution, the “Proud to be Bermudian” cast, the Royal Bermuda Regiment, Cindy Smith, John Seymour, Liv MisLu, Desmond “Rivah” Smith, Live Wire, John Seymour, Aimee Bento and Quinn Outerbridge. Following the opening ceremonies, fans enjoyed daily Main Stage entertainment including performances by Grammy Award winning entertainers and nominees Wyclef Jean, NE-YO, and Jamaican reggae band Third World, as well as many more talented artists. Miller closes, “The event was a challenge, but this is what we do – we roll with the changes and turn out spectacular events. We had an enthusiastic production team and the local crews were a delight to work with.”

ACEA Production Manager Josh Carney remarked, “I cannot really put into words how challenging this production really was, and OSA helped make it the success that it was. The level of professionalism and knowledge – and not just industry knowledge – that the OSA team demonstrated was far above and beyond what anyone expected from an A/V provider. OSA knocked it out of the park! Once the event started, I did not have to worry about the AV, as I knew we were in good hands.”

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View pictures of the Opening Ceremonies of the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda here.
Photo credit: ©Two & Quarter Photography

About OSA International, Inc.
With offices in Chicago, Las Vegas and Nashville, OSA International, Inc. creates remarkable live events of every type and scale using cutting-edge engineering, audio systems, LED and video technology that is second-to-none in quality, implementation and execution. For more information, visit www.OSAcorp.com.

OSA Overcomes RF Challenges at Chicago’s Navy Pier with Shure ULX-D® Wireless

Shure Installation Solves Challenges for One of the Densest RF Environments in the U.S.

Navy Pier in Chicago is one of the most important civic landmarks in the United States and one of the top-visited leisure and cultural destinations in the world. Since its reopening in 1995, the Pier has welcomed more than 180 million guests, including a record-breaking 9.3 million guests in 2016. Originally designed for shipping and recreational purposes, the facility has evolved into a premiere entertainment and exposition center.

In July 2017, Navy Pier completed construction of the Polk Bros Park Performance Lawns, a renovated space that further exemplifies the Pier’s ongoing commitment to offer guests a one-of-a-kind experience to enjoy outdoor movies, live music, theater, public art, festivals, and more. Set in Chicago, widely recognized as one of the densest RF environments in the U.S., the Pier faced a major hurdle in finding a way to overcome the RF challenges that are common with these types of wireless installations. Therefore, it brought in audio and video contractor, OSA International, Inc. Already familiar with the spectrum challenges that the project faced, OSA’s Brandon Gardner and his team installed a wireless system from Shure.

The team elected to install eight channels of Shure ULX-D® Digital Wireless, along with six Beta 58 handheld transmitters and ten ULX-D belt packs. Since the grand opening, the ULX-D wireless system has provided exceptionally efficient RF performance, networked control, Dante™ digital audio, and AES-256 encryption. With roughly ten venues on the Pier competing for wireless spectrum space, there was a great deal of coordination needed among the venues, and the team had the ability to create group channel assignments with the ULX-D Digital Wireless system. The Pier was impressed by the capabilities of ULX-D Digital Wireless because the system does not further disrupt the wireless environment already in place.

“Navy Pier brings in millions of people every year, and with the addition of the new Polk Bros Performance Lawns, the Pier was severely in need of an audio system that would not only provide flawless audio, but wouldn’t interfere with the other venues competing for space,” said Gardner. “Since the installation of Shure’s ULX-D and other microphones, the Pier has never sounded better.”

By opting for the ULX-D wireless system, Gardner and his team were provided with flawless audio through extremely efficient RF performance, networked control, reliability, and ease of installation, to name a few benefits. The team at Navy Pier is pleased with the wireless system and other Shure microphones that have been put into place for this new venue, and expects to continue to rely on OSA and Shure for future audio projects.

To learn more about OSA International, Inc., visit www.OSAcorp.com. To learn more about Navy Pier, visit www.navypier.com. For more information about Shure, go to www.shure.com.

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View pictures of the Opening Night of the Polk Bros Performance Lawns at Navy Pier here.
Photo credit: ©Elliot Mandel Photography

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“OSA Overcomes RF Challenges at Chicago’s Navy Pier with Shure ULX-D® Wireless” by Shure Incorporated

MLA Unites EDM Lovers and the Neighborhood at Moonrise Festival

MHA Audio of Hagerstown, MD recently deployed Martin Audio MLA systems across four stages of Moonrise Festival in Baltimore, Maryland to tackle challenges of noise leakage into surrounding neighborhoods, while still maintaining high sound levels demanded by artist riders and the expectant festival crowd.

Moonrise Festival is an annual two-day electronic dance music (EDM) festival held at Pimlico Race Course and has been successfully running since 2014 with an average of 60,000 in attendance per year, putting Baltimore on the EDM map and attracting some of the biggest DJs in the world. However, the popularity of the festival and its genre of music present unique audio challenges given the venue’s close proximity to surrounding neighborhoods.

For the 2017 festival, the event’s organizers were tasked with developing a plan to limit noise nuisance to the residential communities around Pimlico Race Course, while still maintaining the quality that the festival has come to be known for.

The festival operates under three strict sound level criteria: levels at the perimeter must not exceed 85dB (C LAeq); levels in residential areas must conform to the Baltimore city code of 5dB (C LAeq) above ambient noise level; and finally, sound levels must be capable of 105dB (C) inside the venue in order to meet artist rider requirements. In order to monitor sound levels, twelve SPL meters were set up, eight within the concourse and four within key residential zones.

EDM music festivals require the most subsonic frequencies and among the highest sound levels of any live event. In order to provide the proper customer experience inside the venue, while at the same time limiting sound levels outside the venue as much as possible, a new approach to the sound system design and site layout was implemented this year.
Organizers approached Mike Scarfe, owner of MHA Audio, as they were aware of the success of MLA at other festival sites and he was confident of achieving the necessary results: “I was contacted back in May and was sent the site plans, noise restrictions and where the majority of the sound complaints had been generated the year before.

“Based upon my previous experience and discussions with the Martin Audio factory in England, I was confident that system designs primarily combining MLA multi-cellular speaker arrays with an MLX cardioid subwoofer package would meet all the requirements.”

A cardioid subwoofer configuration was deployed with some subtle variation on all four stages. In a typical subwoofer configuration bass frequencies are omnidirectional. No matter where the subwoofers are placed, the lowest sounds will always go towards the concert perimeter as much as they would go towards the audience. In an MLX cardioid subwoofer configuration, multiple subwoofers use careful spacing and digital signal processing to phase cancel frequencies to the sides and behind the speakers, allowing more control. Because of this capability, all four stages were able to be aimed away from the neighborhoods of Mt. Washington and Cylburn for this year’s festival.

Multi-cellular arrays differ from normal line arrays by combining many smaller speaker elements and advanced digital algorithms to provide custom control and even coverage exactly where desired, and virtually eliminate unwanted coverage in sensitive areas.

As Scarfe comments, “MLA is unique. It’s still the only system around that can optimize multiple sonic goals and truly deliver the sound across the audience required for any space, while mitigating sound leakage. Utilizing a multi-cellular array eliminates all but the loudest and lowest frequencies from leaving the concert area.”

Within the Pimlico Race Course, Moonrise festival featured four stages, two main stages – Stellar and Lunar – as well as the 300ft long Solar Dance Tent and Celestial Garden Stage.

The equipment list was extensive: Stellar comprised two main hangs of 12 MLA each side with 36 MLX subwoofers; Lunar stage featured 24 MLA and 24 MLX; 20 MLA Compact and 24 MLX were on Solar; and, finally, 20 W8LC line array elements and 24 WS218X subwoofers on Celestial.

To support the event, MHA called upon fellow MLA network partners, OSA International, Inc., who helped supply and manage the Stellar stage. Jim Risgin, Vice President of OSA, commented, “Martin Audio’s MLA system is the best choice for controlling sound in live events, especially in a situation like Moonrise that needs to decouple the festival from its surroundings. Festivals can lend a positive impact to local economies, but for them to be viable everyone from festival-goers to residents and from the planners to the city and local businesses need to be catered for appropriately and MLA solves the conundrum when dealing with sound leakage.”

The festival weekend itself saw thousands of mostly millennials descend upon the racetrack’s storied infield to watch more than 70 producers, DJs and musicians across the four stages. In its five-year history, 2017 was arguably Moonrise’s strongest line-up yet, with headliners like Kaskade, Afrojack, Zed’s Dead, Excision and Pretty Lights Live with Rap acts including Lil Uzi Vert and Run the Jewels injecting some additional variety.

The success of the event and MLA system design was clear. The effect was a near omnipresent throb of rattle-the-ribcages low-end, peaking well above the required 105dB, with an ecstatic and knowledgeable crowd pulsating to the set lists. Meanwhile, off site limits were met and noise complaints were at an all-time low.

According to Audio Engineer, Matthew Bittman, who provided analysis reports for Baltimore City Council: “The result of the new system design and layout was in total compliance with all sound objectives and restrictions for the 2017 festival. At no time did the perimeter approach the 85dB (C LAeq) limit, nor did any neighborhoods register 5dB (C LAeq) above ambient readings from Friday, prior to the festival’s opening. In addition, most of the complaints from the Mt. Washington and Cylburn neighborhoods were eliminated, and no complaints from Mt. Sinai hospital were received this year.”

Summing up, Bittman said, “These successes can be attributed to the new sound system, SPL monitoring system, and the re-orientation of the stages this year. It’s my clear recommendation that for next year both cardioid subwoofer and multi-cellular array technology should be used in order to remain within legal compliance.”

Photo Gallery

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Photo credit: ©Anthony Washington

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“MLA Unites EDM Lovers and the Neighborhood at Moonrise Festival” by Martin Audio Ltd.

Martin Audio CDD Speaker

OSA Installs Martin Audio in Lagunitas Brewery

OSA International, Inc. recently deployed a Martin Audio CDD speaker system for the Tasting Tour at the Lagunitas Brewery in Chicago’s Douglas Park neighborhood in North Lawndale.

Founded in 1993 in the town of the same name, the Lagunitas Brewery is now located in Petaluma, Azusa, Seattle and Charleston, in addition to Chicago. The company is now one of the leading craft breweries in the country, and is known for its unique interpretations of traditional beer styles with humorous descriptions and stories on its packaging.

The Chicago brewery tour is a popular attraction in the city and OSA was recently called in to replace the original sound system for the walking tour. According to project manager Brandon Gardner, “the guided tour is on a catwalk––there are several levels to the facility, with the brewery and bottling plant on the ground floor and the catwalk above. The tour has four zones where the tour guide stops and explains the process for brewing, fermenting, bottling and canning the beer.

“Originally,” Brandon continues, “the system consisted of powered speakers that tended to clip, which caused complaints from visitors not being able to hear what the tour guide was saying, especially when groups were more than 100 people.

“So, a major concern was getting clarity from the front where the tour guide stands all the way to the back of the crowd. Plus, we had to control the sound going off the catwalk so that the tour would not disturb the people working below in the brewery and bottling facilities.”

To upgrade the system, Brandon opted for Martin Audio CDD10 10″ compact coaxial, differential dispersion speakers, one in each zone with two in the bottling and canning area to compensate for the additional noise coming from the floor. The speakers were mounted horizontally with the drivers rotated to achieve optimum coverage in that zone as well. A BSS digital controller was added at each zone so tour guides could adjust the volume locally.

Asked about his choice, Brandon responds, “The CDD speakers offer exceptional clarity especially in the high frequency range because of the coaxial drivers and differential dispersion technology. Plus, they offer the most consistent performance I’ve heard. That, and the form factor is well suited to a variety of mounting solutions.

“Our client is very happy with the CDD’s performance––he is excited about the speakers. Everyone on the tour can now hear clearly and there have been no noise complaints from below the catwalk. It’s win-win for everyone.”

For more information about OSA International, please click to www.OSAcorp.com.

For more information about Martin Audio, please click to www.martin-audio.com.

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“OSA Installs Martin Audio in Lagunitas Brewery” by Martin Audio Ltd.

OSA Relies On Martin Audio Solution For Successive Navy Pier Events

OSA International recently had to produce back-to-back events for two clients who used Chicago’s venerable Navy Pier in very different ways. Fortunately, they had a Martin Audio MLA system to help them overcome a number of challenges.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Chicago Designight 2016 had the venue for one night while the Gateway for Cancer Research Cures Gala 2016 was set for the following evening. Both of the events were completely different technically, and had to be strategically designed to provide both clients exactly what they were looking for.

As an architectural organization, AIA preferred to show less of the technical production elements and highlight the natural historic beauty of the venue. In contrast, the Cures Gala event required extensive lighting and projection trusses, including a flying stage over the audience area. With the tight schedule between events and limitations of the facility, all equipment had to be installed, tested, and stay throughout both events, which meant OSA had to make the equipment as inconspicuous as possible.

Michael Ravenhill and The Mandell Entertainment Group were Executive Producers for the 25th annual Gateway for Cancer Research 2016 Cures Gala with OSA as the Technical Producer and David Foster & Friends as entertainment including Peter Cetera, CeeLo Green, Carly Rae Jepsen, Sinbad, Michael Bolton and The Tenors.

With six semis and two 26-foot box trucks of audio, video, lighting and band gear, space was at a premium for the event. The ground level and audience space was packed with guest tables that only allowed enough room for audio consoles on the floor, while video, lighting, audio control and dimmer racks were on the balcony level with limited access.

The Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier is known as a challenging audio environment because of parabolic effects added by the domed ceiling, its reflective open steel structure, a polished cement floor and glass sides. A traditional bandshell that makes up the upstage wall multiplies the acoustical challenge as volume is added.

To overcome these issues, OSA removed the house audio and replaced it with 10 Martin Audio MLA cabinets a side, using the system’s pattern control to minimize the reflections and increase direct frequency response to the audience seating area, along with 12 specially tuned MLX subs for a balanced low-end response. Plexiglass was used wherever possible to shield direct sources such as drums while guitar amps were isolated into back rooms. The audio system also included two Studer Vista 5SR consoles for the band and a Soundcraft Vi1 for the business portion and videos.

The OSA crew for the event included Carmen Educate (Sound Designer and Entertainment Mixer) Michael Solomon (Production Manager), Joseph Burger and Tom Georgitsis (Technical Directors), Peter Wiejaczka (Production Mixer), Peter Brennan (Entertainment Monitor Engineer), Paul Educate (Communications and RF Technician), Orlando Calzada and Adam Rosenthal (System Technicians).

Asked about mixing FOH for the event, Carmen Educate says, “The David Foster & Friends show went into the Navy Pier Rotunda, and the acoustics in this venue are quite challenging to overcome. Because of this, it was critical to get the stage volume down to a minimum, which included minimizing the SPL from stage monitors, musical instruments, and amplifiers reflecting off of the bandshell.

“The mix experience is always stellar with the MLA system, and most importantly, our show is consistent sounding from arenas and large theaters, to exhibition halls, that are sometimes not ideal for sound clarity. It definitely drives like a super car, because you can feel every move you make at any speed, with precision. With MLA, I can achieve a better quality sound with less SPL and ear fatigue for the audience. My mix translates perfectly if I am running my show at 92dB or 105dB to accommodate for a certain audience or artist lineup.”

Summing up, Carmen concludes, “Mixing on the MLA system is always a distinct pleasure. It’s by far the most advanced and efficient PA being used in the live sound market today, when properly calculated and deployed. MLA has always impressed me with its final results, and consistently helps bring the audience into a great sounding studio environment that our artists and clients have come to expect.”

Photo credit: ©Bob & Dawn Davis Photography & Design

For more information about OSA International, please click to www.OSAcorp.com.

For more information about Martin Audio, please click to www.martin-audio.com.

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“OSA Relies On Martin Audio Solution For Successive Navy Pier Events” by Martin Audio Ltd.

Technotrix Takes Control at Riot Fest with MLA

Chicago, IL––Returning to its new home in Douglas Park for the second year in a row, Riot Fest featured four stages of Martin Audio provided by Technotrix including the main Riot and Roots stages equipped with MLA.

The eclectic lineup for the 3-day, punk/ska/metal oriented festival included The Flaming Lips, Morrison, Ween, Julian Marley, Sleater-Kinney, Death Cab for Cutie, The Specials, Social Distortion, Nas, Deftones, Bad Religion, Rob Zombie, Bob Mould, The Original Misfits and more.

For the main stages, the Technotrix crew needed to provide exceptional front to back coverage for the audience area while cutting off coverage at different points during daylight and evening hours.

As Audio Manager Brent Bernhardt explains, ‘Festival management wanted us to have the PA throw different distances during the day. Zone 1 (Day Zone) was about 50ft. past front of house with coverage dying hard beyond that so they could draw fans into the stage area and not have them spread out all over the lawn. Early evening or Zone 2 was for direct support bands, and we’d open up MLA another 100 ft. Then Zone 3 would be for headliners in the evening and that was the system full on.

‘We needed to maintain levels at FOH of 104dB A-weighted and have these hard die offs happen segmentally without affecting the rock show up front. To do that, we used a combination of different adjustable deltas and Hard Avoid in the MLA control scheme to create the noise cancellation in specific zones during those times of the day. The good thing about MLA was that we could fearlessly deploy these presets without changing tonality, something you can’t do with other PAs.’

The actual setup for Riot and Roots stages included 11 MLA and 1 MLD a side with 18 MLX subs ground-stacked in front of the stage in a cardioid deployment of 6 stacks of 3 each evenly spaced 4 ft. apart to allow for camera platforms, cryogenics and other special effects.

In addition, each stage had Martin Audio LE2100 monitor wedges, 2 WS218X with W8LCs on top per side for sidefill subs and 2 WS218X subs with W8LCs on top per side for drum fills. OSA International, Inc., an MLA Network partner, provided supplementary Martin Audio equipment for the event.

To better coordinate the musical output and operation from both stages, each was facing and firing in the same direction with alternating bands every hour and a large barricade running up the middle of both audience areas that created a large compound with two FOH risers 50 ft. apart surrounded by VIP sections.

Asked about MLA’s quality of coverage, Brent responds, ‘When we were testing the system in the morning at full open settings for headliners, the festival’s Production Manager came all the way across the park to tell us, ‘I can hear everything clear as day, it sounds amazing!’

‘We also had very positive feedback about how easy it was to mix on the system and how pleased they were with the coverage front to back, which was great.’

Riot Fest Production Manager Grant Simmon adds, ‘The Riot and Roots stages required a variable coverage pattern facing forward and also needed tight control behind the stage due to its proximity to a residential neighborhood. There was also a hospital to the left of where the stages were pointing and we had no noise complaints or problems during the festival.

‘As a production manager of festivals I’m on site to get a feel for what’s going on at various times throughout the day with the different sound systems in the venue. I’ll often text the FOH system technicians directly and ask them to dial back the top half of the PA. But what I was able to do with MLA which was unreal is text Brent, walk out to a specific point in the field and the full sound of the PA would suddenly appear in that area, even with a crosswind of 25 miles per hour.

‘Ultimately, MLA should be the first choice when trying to achieve that kind of control and eliminate the deleterious impact of noise on the community, which was our no. 1 goal. That plus the system’s ability to move sound around while still using all of the power of the PA and its phase coherence in windy conditions. It’s just an excellent festival PA.

Article Source

“Technotrix Takes Control at Riot Fest with MLA” by Martin Audio Ltd.

Steely Dan

Steely Dan and Steve Winwood Tour with MLA

OSA International, Inc. of Chicago, Las Vegas and Nashville is again supporting Steely Dan on "The Dan Who Knew Too Much Tour" featuring special guest Steve Winwood with a Martin Audio MLA loudspeaker system.

The tour encompasses a variety of venues from amphitheaters to arenas which, given two iconic artists with different musical signatures and Steely Dan’s reputation for superior audio, places extra pressure on the OSA crew of Kevin Gillson (system engineer) and Werner Gerbracht (stage and PA tech) to excel in every kind of situation, no matter what challenges the weather including hail stones that caused audience evacuations at Red Rocks%emsp;and the acoustics of each venue hold in store.

In addition to those pressures, Kevin, the man who implements Steely Dan FOH Engineer Mark Dowdle’s vision for each show, is working with MLA for the first time with only certified training and limited exposure to the system and software. Even with these challenges, the crew has exceeded the expectations of both engineers and delivered exceptional and repeatable results for every show.

"I’ve worked with another system for many years," Kevin explains, "but was really impressed that even with the large amount of information that goes into the MLA box, the software is straightforward and easy to grasp quickly, which was a big key for this because I had to jump right out and start using it. Using this system from design to deployment has been a real eye opener on how well it can deliver the artist’s mix to the audience as well as take the problems of the room out of the equation."

In terms of a typical setup, the main configuration for sheds and arenas consists of 13 MLA and one MLD downfill per side, with nine MLA Compact a side for off hangs and four MLX subs a side either flown behind the MLA or ground-stacked depending on the venue and setup time.

Asked about MLA, Kevin responds,

"Overall, I was very impressed. How, with MLA, you can walk through the horizontal coverage and maintain the stereo image. You don’t have the hard definition between the right and left hang that you have with other systems––it’s seamless from side to side. I also like the Martin Audio crossover points where the vocal range hits a paper cone instead of a horn, which makes it much smoother, more natural and easier to listen to.

"MLA’s control is also helpful,"

adds Kevin.

"I can hard avoid 20 feet upstage from the stage edge, which makes the PA extremely quiet on stage for the artists. I can then control and extend the coverage for the first seats as far back as I need to and again use hard avoid on problem areas like a balcony edge or a shed roof that comes down in back of the pavilion, which has been very helpful in controlling room acoustics.

"With other systems’ subs, I would try to use cardioid setups but still had too much low end behind the cabinets. I have found that the MLX subs are so quiet in a standard configuration that Vern will occasionally ask me if they’re on. I’ve also had sound engineers in the audience who can’t believe we’re only running four subs a side and tell me how amazing they sound. The MLX subs are so musical and their tonality is just phenomenal."

Having succeeded with MLA on this tour after years of using other systems, Kevin has a special perspective at this point:

"There are a lot of PAs out there and they all do things differently. But working with MLA where the approach is phase coherence at the listener instead of at the box really makes sense in so many ways. One benefit with MLA versus other systems is the system’s stability with wind. With other systems, when we get wind off stage coming across the PA, the mix moves with it. With MLA, I can hear the mix and it doesn’t shift in a strong wind. That blew me away.

"Because I had such a short learning curve, I was concerned about having to deploy MLA for a band with Steely Dan’s reputation, but the system has performed phenomenally well for the tour and has been easy to deploy, no matter what type of venue, weather or circumstances."

James Towler, who’s worked with Steve Winwood for 19 years both as his FOH and recording engineer as well as managing Steve’s Wincraft Music Studios in Gloucestershire, is also using MLA for the first time.

According to James, his primary goal when mixing Steve live is "getting vocal presence out of the PA and making sure everyone can hear the Hammond."

"With the MLA, I haven’t had to touch the Graphic EQ on my board because of the way the system’s been performing. It really became apparent when we were in Dallas at the American Airlines Center that it was the best vocal presence I’ve ever gotten in a live situation and I’ve mixed that room a few times. I’m really pleased with the definition I’m getting from the PA."

As it turns out, James uses a different approach for mixing than Mark Dowdle, his counterpart with Steely Dan: "Mark and I have completely opposite setups, but we’re both very similar in terms of our philosophy, which is get the right microphones and mic pres, and you’re well on your way."

Focused on a "high quality front end," James’ setup starts with a DiGiCo S21 console into a Dante networking system that includes Millennia mic pres converted to Dante, Focusrite RedNet interfaces, a PreSonus RM32AI rackmount mixer "for sorting out his monitor feeds," and Shure PS 1000 in-ear monitors on a Digital Audio Livemix personal monitor system.

Commenting on the MLA system, James reports that "Steve is pleased with the way things are sounding. He’s happy because the rejection on the back side of the PA is fantastic so we don’t have to balance Front of House level with what the performer needs on stage.

"I have really enjoyed mixing on the MLA. When it comes up and we get the sweet spots, it sounds like I’m back in the studio. I can get that vocal presence right in my face and be both a live and studio engineer!"

For Steely Dan, highly esteemed veteran FOH engineer Mark Dowdle is again at the helm as Audio Supervisor and Mixer. With a list of credits that includes Elton John, Gloria Estefan, Fleetwood Mac, Tina Turner and Jackson Browne to name a few, Mark has successfully met the challenge of mixing Steely Dan live for numerous tours over the last five years with the last three tours being on MLA with OSA.

When mixing the band, Mark’s goal is "to reproduce their music as accurately as possible, getting as close as I can to the standards they use in their recordings."

By mutual agreement with Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, his process is 100% analog. Mark mixes on a Midas XL4 console with 57 channels including stereo modules. As mentioned, he believes "getting the microphones, mic pres and mic placement correct is the first order of business. I choose microphones best suited to the instruments and vocals rather than based on brand."

Mark is wholly responsible for achieving consistent sound from one venue to the next and tuning the system after it’s rigged, a process that requires instinct, judgment and flexibility. As he explains,

"When it comes to Steely Dan, all venues are somewhat challenging because they tend to take away from the concert experience instead of adding to it.

"So you have to take a good look at the situation and figure out ahead of time what will work the best in that scenario in terms of how to do the hang, how many boxes to use, how to aim the PA and tune it to the room. You put the system up and do the best you can to anticipate what the room’s going to do, and hopefully you’ll end up close to where you need to be.

"In terms of this system, MLA is very coherent with a lot of definition and separation. The extended high end has a lot to do with what happens in the middle of the frequency range and how that appears in the mix. I’m usually pretty consistent where I end up from one venue to the next.

"The network and software make it easier to identify setup issues and we’ve really had none to speak of,"

Mark concludes. "Fortunately, the system has been very dependable and steady so I haven’t had a real reason to rely on that. Overall, I’ve enjoyed using MLA. It’s given me everything I’ve needed from start to finish on this tour."

Martin Audio PA by OSA on Steely Dan Tour

The Dan Who Knew Too Much Tour

The Dan Who Knew Too Much Tour

Mark Dowdle mixing Steely Dan

Article Source

"Steely Dan and Steve Winwood Tour with MLA" by Martin Audio Ltd.